from the District Court of Goshen County The Honorable John
C. Brooks, Judge
Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender:
Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief
Appellate Counsel; David E. Westling, Senior Assistant
Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Westling.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General;
David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M.
Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D.
Jackson, Director, Saige N. Smith, Student Director,
Prosecution Assistance Program, University of Wyoming,
College of Law. Argument by Ms. Smith.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ., and SULLINS, D.J.
Appellant, Darrel Goetzel, challenges the district
court's denial of his motion to correct an illegal
sentence. We conclude that res judicata bars his
claim, and affirm.
The issue presented by Appellant is whether the district
court erred in denying his motion to correct an illegal
sentence. The State raises a separate issue: Does res
judicata bar Appellant from bringing this claim?
While being booked on various charges at the Goshen County
Detention Center, Appellant hit the officer in charge, who
fell to the floor. Appellant then kicked him in the head,
causing severe injuries to the officer. Appellant used the
officer's radio to ask for the door to be unlocked. The
door was opened, and he fled from the facility, taking the
radio with him. He was apprehended six days later in
Nebraska. Following his arrest, Appellant was charged with
felony interference with a peace officer, felony escape, and
felony larceny. About six weeks later, in a separate docket,
Appellant was charged with the additional crimes for which he
had originally been arrested. Those crimes included
possession of a controlled substance, felony larceny, two
counts of burglary, and four counts of forgery. Pursuant to a
plea agreement, the State dismissed several of the charges
and Appellant pled guilty to burglary, forgery, felony
larceny, felony escape, and felony interference with a peace
officer. The district court accepted the guilty pleas, and on
July 26, 2011, sentenced Appellant to a significant prison
term. Appellant did not appeal the district court's
In 2012, Appellant filed a motion for sentence reduction. The
motion was denied. In 2015, Appellant filed a motion for
sentence modification. This motion was also denied. Appellant
did not present a double jeopardy claim in any of the
motions, and did not appeal any of the district court orders
denying the motions.
In 2016, Appellant filed a motion to correct an illegal
sentence. Specifically, Appellant challenged the sentences he
received for two crimes: a nine to ten-year sentence for
felony interference with a peace officer, and a consecutive
nine to ten-year sentence for felony escape. He claimed that
the two sentences should have merged under double jeopardy
principles because "the exact same conduct perpetrated
against the same officer" was used to prove both crimes.
The district court denied the motion. Appellant challenges
that ruling on appeal.
Appellant claims that, under principles of double jeopardy,
his sentences for felony escape and felony interference with
a peace officer should have merged. The State asserts that
Appellant's claim is barred by res judicata.
Because the State's issue is potentially dispositive, we
consider it first. Whether a claim is barred by res
judicata is a ...